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BJP upset over new induction

Hazaribagh, June 6: Ramgarh Congress president Kumar Mahesh Singh has switched over to the BJP with an eye on the coming Assembly elections, causing severe heartburn in the district unit of the saffron party.

State secretary of Intuc and joint secretary of the Rashtriya Colliery Majdoor Sangh (RCMS), Singh joined the BJP in the presence of former chief minister Arjun Munda in Ranchi yesterday.

“Dedicated workers like me have no place in the Congress now. The JMM-Congress government has failed to bring about any tangible change in the state. I see hope only in Narendra Modi,” Singh, who enjoys strong support in the colliery areas of the district, said.

Nevertheless, he said he would continue to work with the Congress-affiliated trade unions. “I am associated with the two unions, which have nothing to do with the Congress,” he claimed.

However, district BJP leaders and workers raised strong objection to his induction into the party and asked the senior leadership to reconsider the decision.

BJP Mandu block president Jageshwar Prajapati came out openly against the move. “We were not asked before his inclusion. I have requested the state leadership to reconsider the decision, otherwise I will resign from the party post,” he said.

District BJP president Amrendra Gupta, however, said he would abide by the decision taken by the party’s top leaders. “Those who are protesting are expressing their personal opinion. As a worker of the party, I will follow the decision,” he said.

Those who are close to trade union leader Singh said the move was aimed at securing a ticket for the coming Assembly elections. “He contested from Mandu Assembly seat thrice — 2004, 2009 and 2012 bypoll — but lost all. In 2012 bypoll, he lost to minister Jai Prakash Bhai Patel of the JMM. He is desperate to win the poll and the BJP is the best bet at the moment,” one of his supporters said.

Moreover, he added, it would be easy for Singh to convince the BJP leadership because he had come second in the Mandu bypoll. “He has joined the BJP on the assurance that he would be given a ticket,” he claimed.

But local BJP leaders said Ranjeet Sinha, a veteran leader from the area, was a strong contender for the party ticket this time. “It will be hard for BJP workers to accept Singh,” said a district BJP leader.

Further, Singh had got bulk votes from the Muslim community last time. “Having joined the BJP, he has lost those votes. So, his claim of support in Mandu does not hold anymore,” he added.

Senior majdoor sangh leader Sushant Mishra said Singh’s decision to join the BJP was an example of opportunism. “If Singh has any claim in politics today, it is because of the Congress, which not only gave him a ticket thrice but also made him the district president of the party,” he said.